Bayer and Recursion Pharmaceuticals announced a shift in their collaboration to focus on oncology with an eye to advancing up to seven programs, with potential total payments of up to $1.5 billion to Recursion based on milestones and royalties on net sales.
In a concurrent deal, Recursion also announced it has entered a five-year deal to pay Tempus $160 million for preferred access to more than 20 petabytes of data which includes de-identified, patient-centric oncology datasets including DNA, RNA, and patient health records. To help power this collaboration and others, Recursion also announced it was increasing the compute capacity of its BioHive-1 on-premise supercomputer by four times via the purchase of more than 500 NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs to add to the 300 A100 Tensor Core GPUs already deployed at the company. Recursion said in a press release that this expansion would make BioHive-1 one of the top 50 most powerful supercomputers in the world.
“Since our founding, we have believed that the next generation of biopharma leaders would operate at the intersection of scaled datasets and accelerated computing,” said Chris Gibson, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Recursion. “With Tempus’s 20 petabytes of fit-for-purpose precision oncology data, NVIDIA’s support in quadrupling our supercomputing power to rapidly and reliably advance the exploration and construction of large AI models, and updating our collaboration with Bayer to rapidly pursue a set of precision oncology programs, we will continue to drive the transformation from BioTech to TechBio together.”
The collaboration with Bayer will look to match Bayer’s small molecular compound library and biology and medicinal chemistry expertise with Recursion’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning drug discovery platform, which “navigates over five trillion biological and chemical relationships within one of the world’s largest proprietary datasets.” The two companies believe their collaboration will allow for the identification of new drug targets in oncology indications with high unmet needs.
“The methodology in which Recursion uses artificial intelligence in drug discovery, could be one of the most disruptive technologies of our time,” said Juergen Eckhardt, MD, member of the executive committee of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals division. “As our collaboration and the usage of AI continue to evolve, we look forward to continuing to work with industry innovators to identify novel targets for oncology indications.”
Prior to its deal to access the oncology data held by precision medicine company Tempus, Recursion’s proprietary data set included information from 50 different human cell types and a library of roughly 1.7 million small molecules. Now, with access to the data held by Tempus combined with greatly expanded computing power, the company is set to supercharge its AI-driven approach to drug discovery and sharpen its oncology focus.
“We share Recursion’s commitment to a data-first approach to precision medicine,” said Eric Lefkofsky, founder and CEO of Tempus. “We look forward to working in tandem to leverage our multi-modal data to uncover insights that have the potential to advance personalized therapeutics for patients around the world.”
In aggregate, Recursion now has access to more than 50 petabytes of data that it can leverage to build large-scale AI/ML models of disease which it can then use to develop novel therapeutic hypotheses, as well as biomarker identification, and clinical trial patient cohort selection.
“Today, we are thrilled to announce the evolution of our collaboration with Bayer, highlighting the flexibility and broad-scale applicability of our platform, as we turn our focus together on challenging targets in oncology with the goal of bringing better medicines to patients more efficiently,” said Gibson.
Under the terms of the agreement, the companies may initiate up to seven oncology programs and Recursion is eligible to receive potential, success-based, future payments of up to $1.5 billion, plus royalties on net sales. Bayer will gain the option to exclusively license novel therapeutics derived from the research activities.